United States Open Golf Championship

    To paraphrase Roy McAvoy in the movie “Tin Cup”, the U.S. Open is the most democratic of golf’s major championships. What McAvoy meant by this statement is, any golfer with a USGA handicap of 1.4 or less is eligible to qualify for America’s oldest major championship (the British Open, or Open Championship is the world’s oldest major by a long ways).

    With the U.S. Open ready to roll around again soon, let’s do a quick refresher on the U.S. Open and how they establish their field of 156 players every June.

    Automatic Qualifiers

    There are a number of ways professional golfers can earn automatic invitation to the U.S. Open including:

  • Former U.S. Open Champions going back the past 10 years
  • Winners of the other three majors (the Masters, the Open Championship, the PGA Championship) over the past 5 years
  • Top-30 Players on the PGA Tour’s money list the previous year
  • Top-15 players on the European Tour the previous year
  • The top 60 players in the world as determined by the Official World Golf Rankings two weeks before the tournament
  • Reigning U.S. Amateur and British Amateur Champions
  • Reigning Mark McCormack Medal Winner (World’s top ranked Amateur)
  • Reigning U.S. Senior Open Champion
  • Reigning Champion of the BMW PGA Championship (European Tour)
  • Players who qualified for the final (30 players) FedEx Cup Championship Event
  • Special Exemptions determined by the United States Golf Association
  • For players who don’t qualify from the above criteria, there is a grueling two-part competition that takes place to determine who will make up the rest of the field.

    The first step for professionals who haven’t qualified or the nation’s top amateurs are 18-hole local qualifying tournaments. The top players from local qualifying move on to 36-hole sectional qualifying tournaments which are held at several locations across the United States. Foreign players can qualify through sectional qualifiers in Europe and Japan.
    The 2016 U.S. Open will be contested at Oakmont Country Club in Plum, Pennsylvania on June 16-19. Oakmont has hosted many USGA events over the years. The course record of 63 was shot by Johnny Miller in the final round of the 1973 U.S. Open.